Amsterdam recently came alive with the roaring engines and electrifying atmosphere of the Gran Turismo World Series Showdown. This was a grand reunion, marking the first time since 2020 that fans could attend a Gran Turismo virtual motorsport event in person.
From the outset, the BMW of Realado stole the limelight, setting the pace from pole position at the 35-lap Suzuka race. As always, Gran Turismo maintained its unpredictable nature. Three drivers teamed up for each car, but the spotlight was stolen by the Porsche team which competed with just two, courtesy of Angel Inostroza’s absence due to injury. And as the teams geared up, an unpredictable weather forecast loomed large, threatening to turn strategies on their heads.
Takuma Miyazono, piloting the Subaru, stood out as the only driver opting for medium tyres right from the start. This bold choice allowed him an immediate edge, enabling him to snatch the lead at Degner. Behind him, the Porsche and Nissan were locked in their own intense tussle, with Mateo Estevez of Porsche making a strategic move against Takuma Sasaki’s 911 at the Hairpin, positioning himself in the second spot.
The race took a thrilling turn when Lamborghini’s Yorkshire driver, Will Murdoch, skillfully maneuvered his way from the middle to the fourth spot, capitalizing on contact between Yamanaka and Pessoa at Casio Triangle.
But the skies above had their own plans. Nine laps in, dark clouds signaled rain’s impending arrival. With a potential downpour looming, strategic calls were the order of the day. Teams weighed the merits of pit stops versus stretching their current tyres.
Rain hit at lap 11, turning the track into a slippery challenge, particularly around the Spoon Curve. While some like Subaru adapted quickly, switching to intermediate tyres, others like Porsche and Toyota found themselves skating off-track, racking up penalties.
As the rain intensified, Lamborghini’s Murdoch and Subaru emerged as frontrunners. Subaru’s lead, however, dwindled as Roberto Sternberg found himself losing four seconds a lap due to his hard tyre choice.
In a heart-stopping finale, Jose Serrano, representing Porsche, showcased exceptional skill and strategy. Despite their initial setbacks and running with only two drivers, Porsche’s Serrano made a daring move on Subaru’s Sternberg in the 33rd lap. His tactics paid off, allowing Porsche to clinch a well-deserved victory.